February 25, 2022 | LIFE| By Josh Kalenga
John Capers ’21 and Kelly Yue ’21 were just first-years when they first locked eyes on a block break trip to New York City. Four years and more than 30 blocks later, the young couple, now living together in Chicago, are preparing for their wedding this coming summer. Is their marriage — a union between Colorado College alumni — the exception or the rule?
“We started to know more about each other throughout the trip,” said Yue, referring to how she met Capers. “After we got back to CC, he was like ‘Can I have your phone number?’”
Capers and Yue continued to hang out as ‘friends’ after their trip, until one night when they officially defined their romantic relationship.
“He was walking me back to South … and I was like, ‘Okay, so are we dating? Is it just a casual thing? Are we committed? What is our situation now?’” said Yue. “And he basically said, ‘I guess we’re dating, right?’ And I said, ‘Okay, then we’re dating.’ So, it was natural, but also really awkward.”
Capers added that the following day was particularly memorable. “It was [Rastall] brunch. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m in a relationship. That’s cool,’” he said. “And I’m waiting in line for my omelet. Then all of a sudden she runs up and kicks me.”
For Sarah Hoffer ’25, it’s hard to imagine a CC relationship transforming into a (potentially) lifelong commitment.
“I’d like to think it’s possible [that I’ll meet my spouse at CC] but I think I’d be surprised,” said Hoffer. “It’s hard for me to picture knowing someone right now that I’d end up marrying, just because I feel like I don’t know myself enough yet.”
Colorado College is ranked 38th in a Business Insider article from 2015 listing 50 colleges where students are most likely to meet their spouse. However, the list doesn’t appear to be based on actual alumni marriage statistics.
Instead, it is calculated by Niche using their “lists of the friendliest students, the smartest students, and the most attractive students, with an emphasis on religious colleges.” It is not clear how Niche collected and combined these metrics.
Nonetheless, the article also features a description of the dating scene at CC by an unnamed source: “Great, smart people that are hot and friendly.”
Historical editions of the CC Bulletin provide further evidence of unions between CC alumni. One note from the April 2001 Bulletin, for example, reads “Nancy Dugdale Ransom and her husband, James ’37, returned to Colorado after 14 years in Green Valley, Ariz. They have a tenth floor apartment with 180-degree views. The Ransoms are the Class of 38’s longest-married, still-living, both-alumni couple. They were married in 1938.”
The Office of Advancement, which typically receives information regarding alumni marriages, did not respond to requests for marriage statistics by the time of publication.
CC students continue to speculate just how many alums marry each other. “I would guess 16%,” said Hoffer.
Yue and Caper’s story provides clues into some of the factors that might make these marriages likely. For one, attending the same college means the couple has shared experiences of some of the most memorable years of their lives.
Yue has a particularly special memory attached to the third floor of Tutt Library.
“It was before we started dating. He did a study section for his Bridge mentees, and he invited me to go … but of course we weren’t studying,” she said. “We were talking, watching videos. When we left, we held hands for the first time.”
Similarly, Capers holds memories of Bento Heaven, a Japanese restaurant on Tejon Street, close to his heart.
“We went there once and then after we started dating went back again. The son of the shop owners remembered us and said ‘Oh I remember you guys! Are y’all dating? Are y’all getting married now?’” Capers said. “I was like ‘What? Okay. No, but thank you for remembering us.’”
Still, for current CC students like Hoffer, there are more important reasons to be in a relationship than finding a potential spouse.
“I think [the most important reasons to be in a relationship at CC for me] would be to get to know other people, meet other people, have new experiences,” said Hoffer. “I don’t think very much about marriage right now just because I’m younger and I still have time just to date people to date people.”
Moreover, Yue and Capers conceded that managing a relationship on the already hectic Block Plan can be difficult.
“I think the Block Plan makes it very hard to be in a relationship especially when you and your partner don’t share classes … I mean, yes, you love each other, but you’re also there for an education,” said Capers.
Despite these challenges, Yue and Capers dated for about 75% of their time at CC and have decided to take the next step by getting married.
One potential location for their wedding was Shove Chapel. According to the CC website, the venue costs $1000 for couples without any CC affiliation to use but only $290 for those affiliated with the college.
“In the past two years, Shove has hosted between 8-12 weddings per year. Currently we have 8 weddings scheduled for this summer,” said Allison Pachecho, assistant director of conference & chapel events in an email. “Many weddings are community members, or with one partner with some affiliation status.”
However, Yue and Capers decided to get married in Chicago because many members of Capers’ family live there. Since Yue is from Hong Kong, wedding planning logistics are perhaps more complicated than a typical wedding between two people from the same country.
“Being in an international sort of relationship opens the possibility that we can do more between our cultures, between the physical locations that we care about, and try to make it work,” said Capers. “So I think our pre-pandemic mindset was that we would potentially do one [wedding] in Chicago and one in Hong Kong, but definitely because of the pandemic, it’s much harder to plan out how that would work.”
“My parents are trying to come to my wedding, but it’s still unsure because pandemic rules back home are always changing and really strict,” added Yue.
Unfortunately the question of exactly how common marriages between CC alums remains unanswered. However, anecdotes like Yue and Capers continue to fuel the folklore surrounding the topic.
“Before coming to CC, I would say it might have popped up in my mind that I could be meeting my other half because my parents also met at college. So I wouldn’t say I’m very surprised that I did meet my husband in college.” said Yue. “But knowing that it did come true and that we’re adding to the stats of CC alums getting married is pretty funny.”